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Gluten free options abound along Surrey’s Spice Trail

When my friend Linda, aka Lindork, asked if I would like to join her for a hosted trip by Discover Surrey for a culinary adventure along The Spice Trail, I expected to be taking more photos of food for her than actually tasting much of it. As a Celiac, I was hopeful that maybe one of our daily restaurant stops would have a gluten-free option, but I never expected the abundance of choices presented to me during our three-day tour.

Arepas at Union Latinos Surrey

Surrey’s Spice Trail is a new marketing initiative aimed at inspiring a tasting adventure through Greater Vancouver’s most culturally diverse restaurant scene. Their interactive map features profiles on a diverse range of ethnic restaurants in a variety of price points, from hole in the wall joints hidden strip malls to fine dining restaurants with chic decor.

You can watch the Lindork Does Life YouTube video to see everywhere we went and everything we ate along the Surrey Spice Trail in Surrey,BC. (I was very excited to get the gluten free shout out.)

Here are a few of the places and bites I was able to enjoy along the Spice Trail. Please note that this list is not exhaustive of all gluten free options, and that new restaurants will continue to be added as the Spice Trail continues to grow. Check out The Spice Trail website for an updated list of participating restaurants.


Afghan Kitchen South Surrey

Afghan Kitchen was the first place we tried during our culinary tour of the Spice Trail, and it was one of my top picks from the journey. The online menu clearly identifies gluten free (GF) options, and our server was very knowledgeable on what I could and couldn’t have. We shared the KBL to YVR, a generous platter for two (GF) $61, served with eggplant, potato, sautéed spinach, lamb shank, chicken kebab, side of chicken qorma + Afghan rice. I also tried the grilled spice chicken. While the cocktail menu looked lovely, I opted for the saffron tea which comes served in a beautiful glass teapot and candle to keep the brightly coloured tea warm. 

Clove – The Art of Dining

With a large South Asian community in Surrey, choices of Indian food are abundant; however, Clove stands out for an elegant experience where the culinary team presents beautiful food and drinks with a mix of modern and traditional elements. Highlights for me were the Mysore lamb shank, seafood moilee, and lasooni baigan.

Woo Korean BBQ House

I have a hard time eating at most Korean restaurants as I find that many things are pre marinated and/or made with soy sauce, and accommodations are difficult or bland. I was shocked when we arrived at Woo Korean BBQ for lunch and I was able to have a modified bibimbap with gluten free soy sauce.  I was overjoyed when the fire cracking hot stone bowl arrived and I was able to mix the egg into the crunchy fried rice.

* GF items were not identified on the menu but our server was very knowledgeable.

Union Latinos Food

When we arrived to find Union Latinos Food located in a busy strip mall, next to a Latino grocery store, I had a good feeling. When we opened the door the Colombian restaurant was packed and the energy was electric – Colombia had just finished playing a World Cup qualifier and the tv was blaring the conversation of two commentators speaking rapid-fire Spanish. Having travelled through South America, including six weeks in Colombia, I was overjoyed to find seats in this authentic eatery. Their online menu identified gluten free items – I indulged in cheese filled empanadas, and Arepa Rellena – a traditional corn patty that was stuffed with meat, cheese and sauce.

Kerala Kitchen

Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall, chef Sujith serves up dishes with the flavour of south India at Kerala Kitchen including gluten-free dosas. Dosas are a thin crepe/pancake made from a batter of fermented lentils or rice.

ChaCha’s Tandoor & Grill

The name, Chacha, the Punjabi word for uncle, highlights the importance of family in this locally run restaurant highlighting the flavours of northern India. The menu, decor, and vibe in the restaurant (which included Punjubi rap) is influenced by a first generation Canadian playing homage to his heritage with a twist. I devoured the daal makhani and chicken kalami kebab dishes.

Guacamole Mexican Grill

We stopped by Guacamole Mexican Grill for a quick bite. I love when restaurants allow you to mix and match tacos, and we tried the chorizo, carnitas and el pastor. I loved the decor and wish we had more time to taste more items as I know they had more GF options on the menu.

Civic Hotel

During our stay in Surrey we were conveniently located at the Civic Hotel. Our stay included in-room breakfast and the kitchen conveniently served me eggs, bacon and gluten free toast for breakfast.

Mi Shanti – Vijs

We didn’t have enough time to dine at Vikram Vij’s popular south Surrey restaurant Mi Shanti, but I know that GF options are clearly labelled on the menu and Vikram’s food is delicious. * As indicated on the menu, items made in the fryer may be contaminated and should not be ordered by Celiacs.

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